Once Upon a Time in the West

   27 July 2007, early morning

Charles Bronson

I knew I had to watch Once Upon a Time in the West after seeing a short clip of it set to song My Body is a Cage by the Arcade Fire. The clip is really well done, but is essentially a four minute long spoiler for the movie. That sucked, but I’m of the opinion that if the only worthwhile thing about a movie is a twist at the end, it’s not a particularly good movie. (Obviously it’s always nice to be surprised, but a movie should be more than its last 5 minutes.)

Once Upon a Time in the West is a film by Sergio Leone, who is probably the most famous director of Spaghetti Westerns. He gained fame for his “man with no name” trilogy of: A Fist Full of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. Once Upon a Time in the West was the film he made following this trilogy. It is an incredible film. A lot of people are of the opinion it’s his best film. It’s certainly one of the most beautiful films I’ve seen. The cinematography is amazing. Leone has a very interesting style, using very tight head shots or very long shots for much of the film. The music is sparse and simple, but key points in the film are heightened by the sudden appearance of a more exciting score. The film stars Charles Bronson and Henry Fonda. Fonda, famous for playing good guys, was cast as the villain. (Apparently for audiences of the day, the initial shot where this is revealed would have been quite shocking.) Bronson is a man with no name chasing him down, for reasons that aren’t clear till the final moments of the film. (This is what is ruined by the Arcade Fire clip.) Claudia Cardinale plays the leading lady of the film, and she is smoking hot. Meow. Jason Robards rounds out the cast as the bandit with a heart of gold, who befriends Cadinale and Bronson. Once Upon a Time in the West is a slow and thoughtful film. It is almost 3 hours in length. The pacing is perfect. I could keep going on about how awesome the film is, but i’ll stop now. Suffice it to say I think you should watch it.

Henry Fonda

 

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